The best way to conquer your fear is to face it.

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Extracted from a recent post on my Facebook wall:
The best way to conquer your fear is to face it.

A year ago, I embarked on this journey of self-improvement, discovery & adventure to celebrate my Quarter of a Century.

One of the main things I wanted to do was to learn how to swim. All through my life, in primary, secondary school & even in NS I was taught how to swim. Funny thing was that I was certified by SSC to be level 1 swimmer. But I just could not swim.

The turning point was definitely on a roadtrip I took with two of my friends, Brandon & Brenda last year. On the way to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, we stumbled on a sign saying “Cedar Creek Falls”, & decided to make the turn in to check it out.

When we arrived, there were many people jumping off the peak of the waterfall into the water below. It was at least 10-15m high. I wanted to do it do bad, but the only thing I feared was being unable to swim after I jumped down. All I could do was eat my meatball footlong sub & watch people jump. Eventually, we left the place, & it has been bugging me since.

After much consideration, many months later, I decided that I would learn how to swim, & finish a triathlon. One day I will head back to that waterfall to jump down.

After an awe inspiring new year celebration in Tokyo, where I did all the customary things, (ie Counting down in Shibuya, visiting the Meijijingu Shrine, having the most awesome soba noodles for smooth transition, watching the first Sunrise, etc), I knew it was going to be a good year.

Little did I know everything was about to change. A week after I got back from my trip, on my way to have a haircut, I was involved in a bicycle accident. I was rushed to the emergency ward by ambulance. Had to do a surgery to fix my broken face, & had to be hospitalised for two weeks.

The road to recovery was not easy, having all the energy in the world but your body not being able to utilise it caused me to be irritable & restless.

However, not once did I give up. Even in the hospital bed I was telling people that I’m gonna come back stronger than ever.

I had to get back on my feet, learning from scratch how to walk again. The first time I had a chance, I went back to the track to do my 2.4km. I finished in a time of 32mins. I walked the entire 6laps. Through pure determination & hardwork, I recently ran 8:30 to beat my personal best of 8:47 which I’ve set back in 2010 during NS days when I was pacing my 45th ADWO trainees.

I signed up for two triathlons the year before, metasport & trifactor. Matter of fact, I signed up for the entire series of metasport but had to pass it up as it was early in the year & I was still a long road to full recovery. However, Trifactor in August presented me with an unique opportunity to finish what I started.

Being able to run, all I needed to do was to learn how to swim. Easy right? That’s what I thought. I decided to look up swim coaching in Singapore, & found out the rates $200 for 20 individual sessions. Then I thought to myself, since swimming pool entry at public pools are only $1, I’m sure I would be able to pick it up myself if I went 200times to the pool. As they say, practice makes perfect.

I worked at it at least 3 times a week, looking at how people swim, even how the coaches teach the kids & try to mimic the actions. Went on YouTube to find swim videos, even bought beginner swim magazine to know more. Eventually I picked it up & graduated to the deep pool where I trained for up to 1000m at a go even though the triathlon was just a freshmen category with 200m swim.

Today, I finished the Trifactor Triathlon. Like the slogan says, Try not hard. The inability to swim stemmed from a mental block which I put there. I realized that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Now that it’s gone, next year I’m going to take it up a notch & compete in the sprint distance.

I want to take this opportunity to thank a whole host of people. To all the passerbys who helped me out, by calling the ambulance & helping me to lock my bike, all, who I’ll probably never get to meet, Thank you.

The emergency medics who attended to me on the crash site, & dealt with my incoherence & helped call my mom. The accident & emergency nurses, doctors & staff at Tan Tock Seng Hospital who patched me up. Thank you.

Nurses at TTSH, you are truly angels. You are the most caring & compassionate bunch I’ve ever met.Those who were with me in the A&E, Neuro ICU, & in surgery. Thank you. Nurses in Ward 13B Thank you so much for all the encouragement & care throughout my stay there.

My physios in the ward, as well as my outpatient physios who helped me in my rehabilitation. Thanks for getting me back on my feet as soon as possible & solving my niggling back pain.

I want to thank all my friends who have been with me every step of the way. You know who you are, the support & encouragement I have received was overwhelming, no matter how big or small your actions, I couldn’t ask for more.

Lastly, I want to thank my family who has been so supportive all throughout. Especially my mom, who was a rock which I could lean on. Although I made her very worried when I told her I was getting back on the bike again, she has been very supportive & I know that despite all the nagging, deep down inside she cares a lot. Thanks mom, I love you a lot.

The best way to conquer your fear is to face it. Now, go forth & face your greatest fears head on. You can do it.

 

 

Overtraining.

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Recently, I have been struck down by a sudden onset of lethargy, fatigue, & virus symptoms.

I have been watching my diet & food consumptions pretty closely for the last couple of months, making sure I get the proper nutrition I need for the intensive training I put in. Besides the occasional CHEAT days & REST days, almost everyday is a training day.

This week I took 3 REST days. Now, that’s a record. After a swim session, I forgot to do cool down stretching, & felt my right hamstring during my evening run. It was uncomfortable & I knew something was wrong. I did not want to aggravate it, so I slowed down my pace & made my way back slowly. This was an evening run, ending around 11pm, which I felt was a bad idea in hindsight. It had caused my heart rate to go up, so I could not sleep till 1am, which was bad, as I had a hard interval session scheduled the next morning.

Consequently, the next day, I woke up pretty late, & could not muster the energy to head out the door. I played mind games & told myself, I’ll do it in the evening, but lo-&-behold, I did not do it in the evening.

The next day morning, I went out with the intention of getting it done, only to find out there was a sports meet going on in my local track that morning. Had to postpone the training till evening. When evening came, I got down to the track, full intent with finishing off the 4 X 2km intervals that I wanted to do mentally prep myself to be able to do a SUB40 10k that weekend. I did the first rep, it felt good, I came in well below my target time of 7m40s for 2km. When it came down to the 2nd rep, I felt the sudden need to regurgitate, probably an effect of over-hydrating prior to the interval training. Had to slow down & cut-off the entire exercise as I wasn’t feeling well.

This weekend also coincided with the Hari Raya & National Day public holidays, so there was a long weekend ahead. I was involved in the National Day celebrations, & spent an entire day outdoors & cheering till I almost lost my voice. Perhaps its time to scale back on volunteering activities to concentrate on the core business of running.

Although I’m down, but I’m not out. I’m looking forward to this weekend as it will be the first time I compete in a triathlon, albeit its in the freshmen category (i.e. 200m swim, 10km bike, 2.4km run). This is something that I have set out to do almost a year ago, & I hope to FINISH it. This would definitely pave the way to execute longer distances in triathlon (i.e. sprint, 70.3, Ironman). Every year I’ll try to make the step up to the next category in preparation to eventually complete an Ironman.

Penning my thoughts down in this blog post definitely allowed me to spot some critical errors in training which I will take into consideration in the future. I will have to tweak these bugs out in order to get the optimum efficiency. As for the last paragraph, refocusing on the goal is a great way to steer the vehicle back on track.

Hope I get back on track ASAP as I head into a congested race calendar with 5 back-to-back races lined up every weekend from 11 Aug to 15 Sep.

Its never too late to start.

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Wise man once said, “Journey of a thousand miles, starts with a single step.” Its true.

You’ll never know what you are truly capable of if you don’t even try. Many people are already defeated at the thought of doing some exercise after a long days work. If somewhere along the way you’ve started, congratulations.

For those who haven’t, its never too late to start. If you want real change in your life, you have to be the one that spearheads that change.

Announce it to the world
Tell your friends, family, loved ones about it. Seek support through them, & ask them to respect your decisions. A good way to keep the people around you updated is through social media. The “Likes” & “Favourites” could be a good positive reinforcement that could help keep that drive going.

But remember not to rely on it too much, because you are not in it for the instant gratification; you are in it for the long haul.

Make appointments.
Treat your workouts as appointments you make, only this time it is with yourself. Its rude to be late or not show up once you’ve made an appointment. However, once in a while, its okay to surprise that special someone with a impromptu visit, i.e. if you feel spontaneous, just change & head out of the door as quick as possible.

Dare to dream.
Along the way people will tell you that you can’t do it. But listen,

“Don’t ever let somebody tell you… you can’t do something. You got a dream, you gotta protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, go get it. Period.” – Pursuit of Happyness

Keep going.
This can apply to any aspect of your life. So you’ve laid out a plan, time to stick to it. Its gonna get tough, but with perseverance and determination, anything is possible. Results don’t come overnight, it might take weeks, months, if not years. You might fall along the way, its okay, as long as you get back up again. Just keep going.

Its never too late to start, take that single step today, to a better you.